Royal Pain


Will Queen Camilla kill the Commonwealth? Would anyone notice? The Brits say, technically, she can be queen. Perhaps stung by Camilla's claim that she doesn't even want the title (so there), Michael Howard says that what's good enough for Camilla is good enough for the papists. Reports The Guardian:

A repeal of the historic ban on Catholics inheriting the British throne took a step closer yesterday with the revelation that Michael Howard now supports reform.
The Conservative leader used an interview with the Catholic Herald to point out that, since no other religion or denomination is singled out for such exclusion, it is an anachronism for Catholics to be so treated.

Potential Catholic figureheads aside, the biggest story about the April 8 marriage seems to be that no one in Britain is paying much attention, which is unfailingly interpreted as spirited opposition to Camilla's home-wrecking ways. No one, for instance, is buying the commemorative cups that swept the nation back in 1981 when it was Diana's face plastered across the side. Undeterred, vendors are still pumping out C&C-stamped magnets, coasters, tea towels and mouse pads with admirable vigor. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth is getting uppity; some Aussies and Kiwis would rather step on a landmine than accept Diana's replacement.

NEXT: Johnny Cochran, RIP

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  1. it is an anachronism for Catholics to be so treated

    The British monarchy itself is an anachronism, no?

  2. No one, for instance, is buying the commemorative cups that swept the nation back in 1981 when it was Diana’s face plastered across the side
    If I was going to buy a cup with a member of royalty, Lord knows what would possess me to do that, I’d rather have Di looking at me than Camilla [shudder]. This is based on me not giving a rats patoot about the entire royalty.

  3. 1. Evelyn Waugh should be living at this hour. The reconversion of the UK into a practically Catholic country is the great untold story of the 20th century. Howard’s proposal is just a mopping-up operation. The C of E is finished; the Pope won.

    2. Wills and Harry, working together, obviously have the capacity to get people interested in the Royals again. Charles and Camilla need to get married and move into an emeritus role so this natural-born comedy team can get into position for maximum laffs. The problem is that the Queen has to die for everybody else to advance, and she’s never gonna die.

  4. Tim Cavanaugh is essentially right. The Church of England and the RCC are becoming more and more difficult to tell apart.

  5. Gary Gunnels

    Well, The Church of England does consider itself The Holy Catholic Church of England. Interestingly enough, though, I have met English people who find the Episcopal Church even more “Catholic” than the CofE.

  6. Isaac Bertram,

    So have I.

    Note that the English crown still comes with the title Defensor Fidei (Defender of the Faith); a title given to Henry VIII by Pope Leo X for Henry’s (ghostwritten?) book Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (the book attacked Martin Luther). Henry VIII pimped for a title commensurate with that of the Spanish and French monarchs (“Catholic” and “Most Christian” kings respectively) as a means to legitimate and bolster the tenuous hereditary claim of the Tudors. Well, that and Henry VIII was a vain man who was jealous of his fellow monarchs.

  7. In the USA, Catholics are known to refer to the Episcopal Church as “Catholic Lite,” so similar are they.

  8. Stevo Darkly,

    Ever been to a Methodist Church trying to act Episcopalean (yeah, and I am aware of their deep historical association)? I guess since Wesley always remained an Anglican that makes sense in an odd way.

  9. British royalty are why the elected potentates in Iraq can’t form a government. They’re asking, “Aren’t democracy and a monarchy mutually exclusive? What do Tony Blair and Bush expect of us anyhow?”

  10. I am imagining the sounds of heads exploding all along the Shankill Road in Belfast. 🙂

    How do the Tories plan to form a government without the votes of Unionist MPs from Norn Iron? Is Mr. Howard just baiting Newlabour into pulling the pin before the election?


  11. As an Episcopalian, I have a hard time seeing how anyone could consider us “Catholics Lite,” given that ours is one of the most liberal denominations in America, and the Catholic Church, well, isn’t. Aside from some high church pretentions, we really aren’t all that alike.

  12. I think it’s so cute that they allocate millions in welfare to really embarassing people on a purely hereditary basis.

    Well, it beats our system. In 2000 and 2004 we gave actual power to an embarassing idiot on a hereditary basis.

  13. Kudos to Geo Wash and his peeps for making sure our revolution ended with a complete severance from the silly “Commonwealth”. Our Canuck and down-under brothers should follow our lead and get the Queen off their money, to be replaced by a kangaroo, or an emu, or even Avril Lavigne.

  14. Charles Windsor is already extremely unpopular in Australia. The senior Mrs(Ms?) Windsor has a shrinking following. Since royalists tend to be older they’ll die off eventually.

    My two Australian brothers are Labourites and (predictably) republicans. My two best Australian friends are Liberals and republicans. John Howard is PM because he is a conservative. IMO the royalists control the Liberal Party in much the same way as the christers control the Republicans here (hence Howard, the royalist, is party leader).

    The 55-45 defeat of the 2000 republican plebiscite was due more to sentimentality and uncertainty than love for the monarchy.

  15. get the Queen off their money, to be replaced by a kangaroo, or an emu, or even Avril Lavigne

    Why’d you have to go and get her all coronated?
    She sees the way you’re putting her on all of her bills gets her frustrated.

  16. thoreau,

    I’m not sure if that’s brilliant or horrible in unspeakable ways.

  17. you can’t get the buttons these days

  18. Dogzilla,

    I think that Australia will become a republic soon after the current Prime Minister, who is a monarchist, loses an election or retires, because whichever party wins the following election will be led by a republican. Most people here want a republic, but do not agree on whether the new head of state should be elected directly or appointed in some way by Parliament.

    However, that does not mean that Australia would leave the Commonwealth. It would probably be a republic within the Commonwealth, like India. In fact people campaigning for a republic often reassure their listeners that Australia would not have to leave the Commonwealth.

  19. Isaac Bertram,

    I refer to the Windsors as the “sausage eaters.” 🙂

  20. Alan D,

    If Australia becomes a republic but stays within the British Commonwealth, what real practical effect does this have on how Australia is governed? Aside from removing Liz’s mug from the currency?

  21. DJ,

    Whatever happens will have little practical effect on how Australia is governed.

    Most Australians want to do one of the following:
    (1)Remain a monarchy, with the Queen as our head of state. In theory the Governor General is her deputy in Australia, but in practice she regards Australia as a fully independent country and never tries to influence Australian politics. Hence the Governor General is the de facto head of state. I think that this is a ridiculous situation; why look like a colony if you are really an independent country, and have been for a long time?
    (2) Become a republic with a head of state elected by the people. This is the most popular idea, but I think that an elected head of state would always be a politician – who else could run a nation-wide campaign?
    (3) Become a republic with a head of state selected by Parliament. Such a head of state would be selected by politicians, but would probably not be one himself or herself.

    Changing to (2) or (3) would have little practical effect, and would mainly be done so that Australia would look like what it actually is, meaning an independent country. The only change that would have a practical effect would be having a head of state with real power, like the American president, but that idea is not popular here.

    Whether Australia stays in the Commonwealth or not has little practical importance these days. It is not an empire, a trading group or an alliance. The main reason for staying in it is an affinity with countries like New Zealand, Canada and Britain.

  22. Correction: I should have typed “MJ”, not “DJ”.

  23. My understanding is that the controversy is not primarily over the rule that the monarchs can’t be a Roman Catholic–that seems to folow from their role as “Defender of the Faith”– but that they can’t even *marry* one–though it is perfectly legal for them to marry a Muslim, Busshist, etc.

  24. David T.,

    Yes, that’s true. This goes back to the controversy over the Stuart sucession.

  25. Busshist is a typo for Buddhist, not a worshipper of US presidents…

  26. I know you won’t see this but rest assured, there are plenty of us out there thinking that you are so lovely and should be Queen but won’t because the slut Diana has taken over the media. I really wish that they would look at what they wrote before she died. She was a wreck that didn’t know who was the father of her children. Prince Charles has taken on that role despite the fact that Harry is the image of

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